Why do we need a new school?

Mary Hare is building a new Primary School to give deaf children the modern learning environment they deserve

In 1996, Mary Hare School transferred Mill Hall Primary School for Deaf children from its site in Sussex to its current location in Pigeons Farm Road to the south of Newbury.  This was to save this important resource for young deaf children from closure.  Mill Hall School taught deaf children using the same approach as Mary Hare School, through written and spoken English.

When it moved to Newbury the Primary School had 9 pupils.  Now it averages 30 pupils and is one of the biggest Primary Schools for deaf children in the UK.

The impact of specialist support in the Primary years is pivotal so our appeal will fund the cost of building a new Primary School and boarding house on its own separate site within the main Mary Hare campus to the north of Newbury where we can do even more to improve outcomes for our pupils.

Whilst Mary Hare Primary School is housed in a wonderful Grade 2* listed building that offers classrooms, accommodation and the most beautiful grounds for the deaf children being educated, it has its draw-backs: 

  • It is big, old and requires a great deal of costly upkeep. 
  • It costs a lot to heat and in summer the bedrooms are too hot.
  • Its layout is not one that we would choose for a modern, bright Primary School and lacks light in some areas (which is necessary for children to lipread easily).
  • The building is a Grade 2* listed property which means it is very difficult to make it accessible for children with accessibility problems and to change it to improve it for current pupils.
  • It is several miles from the Secondary School to the north of Newbury so that staff who work across both sites waste time travelling when they should be teaching or supporting the pupils in other ways.
  • We want to encourage greater collaboration between staff at the Primary and Secondary Schools which is not easy due to the distance.
  • It does not have some of the facilities that we would want for our young people, including audiology facilities and areas for speech and language therapy.
  • As we work to increase the numbers of children at the school, we cannot accommodate more than 32 in the current building.

We have therefore decided that we want to build a new, purpose-built Primary School, offering the very best facilities for the children attending, on the site of the Secondary School.  The chosen location maintains the necessary physical separation from the Secondary School to ensure a proper progression from Primary to Secondary, whilst making the most of the opportunities to further share professional resources.